About this Blog

This blog features my original articles, but much more of my work is available on my social media accounts. That’s where I point to important 3rd party articles I find elsewhere, often with my knowledge and insight added in comments. This is what I do every morning:

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Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?

Is health care a right or a privilege?

It’s easy to ask, “Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege,” but to answer the question we must dig deep into our souls and understand the plight of others.

I like to think I’m a compassionate person, able to empathize with others born into the wrong family or environment, and even those who just didn’t get as many breaks in life that I did, but it’s not always easy.

I also think sometimes about what it must be like for those living a life of privilege. That’s why the video featured here had such an impact on me, and I hope on you too. It directly relates to our political debates over healthcare and other social issues too. Read More …

Healthy, Safe, Accessible and Adaptable Homes

Healthy, Safe, Accessible and Adaptable Homes

The Real Estate section of The Washington Post featured an article that caught my eye and formed the basis of my post today. Builders imagine homes of the future — but some of their dreams are available today, by Michele Lerner, describes concepts that homebuilders are considering to make future homes healthier, safer, more accessible & adaptable, and more comfortable to live in & easier to run.

Ever thought about having a dedicated room with an operable opening on the top to accommodate drone deliveries? Or using a 3-D printer to supply hinges for your cabinets? Or imagined your home’s windows adjusting to light and seasons the way your photochromic glasses do: darkening slightly in the summer to reduce heat buildup and fading to black at night for privacy without shades? … Most of the trends expected to affect house designs address consumer’s concerns about healthier living, affordability and adaptability to future lifestyles.

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CBS picks 10 smart home products to help you age in place

Smart Home products that help you Age In Place

In this referenced article, CBS picks 10 smart home products to help you Age In Place. They represent the various types of product categories available, from voice activated home control to smart doorbells, thermostats, and medication reminders. They even include a smart refrigerator from Samsung that starts at about $3,500, but you can make your existing fridge smart for less than $40.

“Aging in place” is a hot topic these days — particularly among baby boomers who want to maintain their independence.

While flocking to smaller homes in warmer climates is still attractive for some seniors easing into their later years, more and more people are choosing to stay where they are. In fact, 85 percent of homeowners 55 and older aren’t planning to sell their homes in the next year, according to a 2017 survey from Realtor.com.

“Aging in place really is a concept based on where you’re living and your preference to staying, whatever you home of choice is,” said Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, eldercare advocate and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch.

Not every home is set up to ease the transition into adults’ older years, when mobility can become a major issue. Declining hearing, sight and mental awareness can also affect how easy or safe it is to continue living independently in a person’s home of choice. But smart home technology brings a whole host of solutions to the table.

Scroll through the smart home products that CBS featured at https://www.cbsnews.com/media/10-smart-home-features-to-help-you-age-in-place/.

Technical and Human Evolution

Humans did a pretty good job to evolve this far, but big changes are ahead.

As I wrote in Moore’s Law and the Future of Healthcare,

“Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and look at factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation.”

In the following video, see how future technologies could impact human longevity, Earth’s environment, and artificial intelligence. Read More …

Inequality, Healthcare and the Economy

Because Congress is debating tax reform, I’m republishing this article to again raise the issue of inequality.

Rising income and wealth inequality leads to political inequality and threatens our democracy. A Washington Post article concluded that People have no idea what inequality actually looks like, and that caused me to respond and to enhance this article, which was published here two years ago. It features some disturbing videos that help us understand the corrupting influence of big money in politics and the direct relationships between:

  • Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
  • Between the widening wealth gaps and poverty,
  • Between Poverty and obesity,
  • Between obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
  • Between chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
  • Between rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.

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A Public-Private Hybrid Healthcare System


American Healthcare is Going Public, and Private. (Click to read article)

I published this article back in 2012 but updated it now because Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham just introduced a bill they aim to ram through Congress without a CBO score or public hearings. Senator Bernie Sanders also has an Obamacare replacement. It’s a form of Medicare-for-All, and it’s gaining wide support among Democrats and the public.

GOOD NEWS UPDATE: Republicans failed to get enough votes to pass the Cassidy/Graham bill.

As founding editor of Modern Health Talk, I think both sides need to step back from partisanship, look at the big picture, consider all stakeholders, look to other advanced nations for inspiration, and combine the best properties of each into a public-private hybrid healthcare model.

Is Health Care a Right? — Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public-health researcher, wrote an amazing article for The New Yorker that asks a question that’s been dividing Americans. His interviews offer important new insights that were missing in the Republican push to repeal and replace the ACA without a single public hearing. Not only do we need to understand what other nations do, but we also need to understand the different perspectives of our own citizens. This amazing must-read article is a good companion to my own article on Single-Payer. Read More …

How will IBM Watson affect the Future of Healthcare?

Watson: a Healthcare Future with Artificial Intelligence? Does AI help doctors or replace them?

How will IBM Watson affect the Future of Healthcare? Will it replace physician functions or just be another tool for them?

IBM made healthcare news when it directed its Watson supercomputer and artificial intelligence (AI) research to target a high-profile target: CANCER. But it seems that many in the medical industry lack the imagination needed to envision the potential that Watson offers. That’s why I’m writing today.

I was disappointed by a Business Insider article, Doctors say IBM Watson is nowhere close to being the revolution in cancer treatment it was pitched to them as. It appeared overly critical and caused me to respond this way: Read More …

Tissue Nanotransfection can Heal Organs with a Touch

Tissue Nanotransfection can Heal Organs with a Touch

According to this article at MedicalXpress.com

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), that can generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body. This technology may be used to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells. Read More …

The Medical Cartel is Keeping Health Care Costs High

Watch "The Big Heist," a satyrical documentary about our broken healthcare systemBy Travis Klavohn and Dr. Laura Williams

In 2010, the small town of Collegedale, Tennessee had the dubious distinction of having the highest prevalence of Type II Diabetes in the world. Without a single endocrinologist in the small town, those suffering from this preventable and treatable form of the disease were unable to gain access to the treatment they needed.

Dealing with this issue firsthand, a local employer who operates a donut manufacturing plant decided to dedicate a portion of his warehouse to be used as a health clinic. By hiring an endocrinologist from Chattanooga to travel to his warehouse a few days a week, his employees were finally able to receive the help they so desperately needed. Read More …

Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners

2016 research by The Hartford and The MIT AgeLab revealed their Top 10 Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners (press release below).

They conducted joint research to better understand which smart home technologies may benefit homeowners over the age of 50 and get their perspectives on smart home technology. This research involved an extensive review of new smart home technologies by leading experts in housing, aging, and technology and an online survey of homeowners.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies

Smart home technologies that may make life easier, help with home
maintenance, and enhance safety and security for homeowners 50+.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies
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Get the Health Incentives Right

Fixing our broken healthcare system, reducing costs, and improving care all comes down to getting the objectives and health incentives right.

Motivation - Fixing our broken healthcare system, reducing costs, and improving care all comes down to getting the objectives and health incentives right. This post is based on a comment I made when Pritpal Tamber called for “Creating a parallel system to health care” in MedCity News back in 2014.

At least for consumers, Modern Health Talk (www.mHealthTalk.com) can already be called the “Institute for New Health Thinking,” with well over 100 articles on Legislative, Public Policy, and Health Reform topics written for consumers, and over 700 on modern health topics in general.

I personally think fixing our broken healthcare system all comes down to agreeing on objectives and getting the INCENTIVES right, as I wrote five years ago when proposing a hybrid, public/private model of health care. The goal then was to exploit the different incentives of (1) capitalism and private sector organizations that measure success in business terms such as profit, ROI, and payback period, contrasted with (2) the public sector, which measures success quite differently and over much longer time periods.  Read More …

Politics and The Modern Killing Fields

Politics and The Modern Killing Fields

I begin with this widely shared Facebook post by Dr. Wallach that calls out unscrupulous doctors, and I follow with my perspective of the modern killing fields caused by public policy.

THE KILLING FIELDS…. Dr. Joel Wallach

“The United States had lost 56,000 military personnel in Vietnam over a ten-year period, for an average of 5,600 per year. Millions of people poured out into the streets to protest these lost lives. We had political anarchy for the last three years of the Vietnam war because of these deaths. And because of these deaths, God forgive us, we shot and killed American students at Kent State in Ohio, who were just exercising their First Amendment rights to free assembly and free speech. YET NO GROUP WAS OUT MARCHING IN THE STREETS WITH PLACARDS PROTESTING THE KILLINGS BY THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. Read More …

Fixing Healthcare – Searching for a Healthcare Unicorn

Fixing Health Care is more than Searching for the Healthcare Unicorn

By Brian Holzer MD, MBA, President, Kindred Innovations

[This blog post, originally published on LinkedIn, is based on my personal view and does not in any way reflect the opinions of the current organization I work for].

Last week I came across the article titled, “Cuts threaten rural hospitals hanging on by their fingernails” which reported that 673 rural hospitals were at risk of closing. The data came from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, which also cited that states including California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia were most at risk with as many as 79% of their rural hospitals facing possible closure.

Reports like these that imply an impending doom of the healthcare system, as we know it are almost a daily event. And the sensationalism of healthcare by politicians and the media only adds further distractions to a system that is starving for patience and unbiased pragmatism. There is also no shortage of articles professing solutions that say nothing more than we need to 1) create a system that ensures that everyone has access to health insurance; and 2) make sure that we contain the huge cost increases.

The real problem we are facing as a society is that Healthcare is a Unicorn…Healthcare is not the same as other markets. There is a widespread lack of transparency about both the costs and the effectiveness of treatments, and many other details that a customer or end consumer might use to make purchasing and utilization decisions in healthcare. If life were as simple as it is often taught in business school classrooms, fixing Healthcare should be as easy as learning from other industries and adopting best practices. So, let’s [apply lessons from] two industries-airlines and auto insurance. Read More …

Alzheimer’s Statistics

EDITOR: These [reposted 2015] stats are from Alzheimers.net, an online community dedicated to education, advocacy and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s to give caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. I added a short section on the impact of sleep duration & quality and a related infographic.

Alzheimer’s Statistics Worldwide

2015 Alzheimer's Statistics

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
  • Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

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Republican Sabotage of Our Health Care System

Trump sabotage of Obamacare

EDITOR: Why does the self-styled “pro-life” party want so badly to raise the death rate through more guns and less healthcare? Some think it’s because white nationalists (aka white supremacists) fear that immigrants and minorities are getting more opportunities than they are. Others think it’s about wealthy elites maintaining political control in the face of sweeping demographic changes. Either way, it’s disgusting and tearing our nation apart. In the referenced article below, Congressional Democrats describe recent administration executive actions ACA Sabotage, to create a healthcare crisis, but Political Genocide may be a more fitting term.

OBAMACARE SABOTAGE CONTINUES

Since his first day in office, President Trump has created vast uncertainty in health insurance markets. Here are some examples:

His Administration has refused to commit to making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and failed to commit to enforcing the individual mandate, putting the integrity of the risk pool and affordability of coverage in jeopardy. Trump’s obvious attempts to manufacture a crisis caused uncertainty in the marketplace and prompted insurers to sharply increase premiums for the upcoming plan year, or pull out altogether.

By another executive order in October, Trump will allow associations to offer group insurance plans with skimpy benefits and offer lower cost plans to members nationally across state lines. Trump’s order would allow association health plans to be exempted from core Obamacare requirements like coverage of essential health benefits. The ACA’s essential health benefits include hospital care, prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health. The aim was to broaden the risk pool by preventing insurers from offering cheap plans tailored to young and healthy customers at the expense of older and sicker people. Experts worry this will damage ACA exchangers and result in overall higher costs.

Trump wants to make it easier for businesses to require employees to pay for their own insurance using reimbursements. He also wants to open more loopholes for people to buy insurance outside of ACA markets, attracting younger and healthier people away from current markets. Experts think this will destabilize Obamacare by leaving behind a smaller insurance pool of older and sicker people, resulting in fewer insurers and higher premiums.

Trump’s executive order finally terminates CSR subsidies paid to insurance companies to help people between 100% and 250% of the poverty level pay for the insurance and health care they get through ACA exchanges. Ironically, Trump’s constant threats to terminate CSR subsidies caused uncertainty in insurance markets that exacerbated two problems he blamed on Obamacare – namely, high premiums and the exit of insurers. This intentional sabotage will harm the 7.1 million people, or 58% of Obamacare enrollees, who qualified for subsidies this year.

Signing up for insurance under Obamacare will be a lot harder this year. Trump has shortened the annual open-enrollment period (Now Nov.1 to Dec.15) and announced plans to take HealthCare.gov offline for 12 hours at a time during peek enrollment times, “for maintenance.” He also cut ACA enrollment advertising by 90% and cut funding for Navigator groups who help people navigate the complex enrollment process and pick a plan under the ACA exchanges or Medicaid.

Trump and GOP attacks on Obamacare could come back to bite them politically, because although they have pleased their base, they also made health care more expensive and more unavailable for many Americans, many of whom are in the red states where Trump won.

It’s Not Just Me, or the mainstream press, Saying This

U.S. Congress seal
Analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has shown that every Republican House and Senate bill to replace Obamacare would (1) increase overall costs significantly and (2) cause tens of millions of people to get health insurance coverage. Sabotage can be even worse, and Congressional Democrats have weighed in on that issue.

Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions recently released a report warning that Republican actions are causing uncertainty in health insurance markets that is resulting in higher premiums and insurers pulling out. A Manufactured Crisis: Trump Administration and Republican Sabotage of the Health Care System is summarized here with quotes from insurance companies and regulators across nearly 20 states. Read More …

Trumpcare will kill more Americans than Terrorists have

Trumpcare protesters say, "We need Care, not Chaos."

Today I commented on The Senate’s Trumpcare Bill Will Kill 50 Times More Americans Than Terrorists Have. This FORBES article frames the issue in a way that puts the large numbers in perspective.

According to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, “15 million people losing insurance translates to at least 18,000 preventable American deaths.” If Republicans simply repeal Obamacare instead, 38,400 would die – or 100 times more than Terrorists have killed. Do I have your attention yet?

My Comment:

Forget politics and ideology for a moment, and look at healthcare from a business perspective, but ignoring the spin of the industry itself. To improve profits, you can either cut costs or increase revenue, or do both. Read More …

10th Apple iPhone Anniversary and Computing Progress

Apple iPhone - 10 years later Before Steve Jobs died, he introduced the Apple iPhone at the Macworld convention in January 2007. The first iPhone units actually shipped to the public on June 29, 2007, so today marks the 10th iPhone anniversary.

This is a good time to look back on the past and project ahead to the future of tech-enabled healthcare. That future will be driven by the exponentially accelerating pace of tech innovation that we call Moore’s Law. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore first observed the trend of circuits and components getting two times smaller, faster and cheaper every year or two.

In Moore’s Law and the FUTURE of Healthcare, I explored that trend and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). We’re already seeing the effects, with the ability of many doctor functions to move down-market from hospitals & clinics to consumers at home. A continuation of that trend will have a profound effect on future healthcare, as I’ve already written about many times on this blog. Future-MooresLaw

In my Moore’s Law article I described the IBM System/370 Model 158-3 mainframe computer that I worked on in the early-1970s as a computer operator. It cost about $3.5M, required a large computer room, and consumed so much electricity that liquid cooling of the processor was needed to supplement room air conditioning. I compared it to an iPhone 4S, which then had 100 times more memory, was thousands of times faster, and had wireless access to the Internet, running on batteries.

We often take for granted how much compute capacity we carry in our pocket — more than it took to land a man on the moon — so as we imagine the future, it’s helpful to reflect on just how far we’ve come, and how fast. Read More …

A Single-Payer Healthcare System for All Americans

Will Fisher Explains Single Payer With Jelly Beans

Watch Will Fisher Explain Single Payer With Jelly Beans (YOUTUBE)

For most of us, getting healthcare in this country is way too hard, as the video at the end shows. So to those in Congress who would make it even harder, I say, “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” with a single-payer system providing universal coverage and healthcare for all.

Because so few people know what single-payer is, Will Fisher uses jelly-beans to explain it. To begin with, single-payer is NOT where the government employs the doctors and directly provides the care. That would be single-provider care.

Will’s jelly-bean analogy shows how we currently Pay for care and the savings from a single-payer system. But read on to see why even Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All plan, doesn’t go far enough to achieve the far greater savings potential I so often write about.
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The Aging World – Infographic about global aging

The Aging World - How older generations are affecting countries around the globe

By Matt Zajechowski

During the Middle Ages, English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Back then, life expectancy was 45 years old, thanks to disease like the bubonic plague, wars, and low infant mortality rates. With the vast, modern improvements in healthcare, hygiene, and diet, populations today can expect much longer, healthy life spans. But living longer has an impact elsewhere, including on the economy and the division of labor and care. Check out The Aging World infographic below to see where older populations are increasing and how they’re affecting the economy. Read More …

Stratus Video Call Center is like a Virtual Waiting Room

Stratus Video Call Center(Reposted — originally published 11/9/2011) As healthcare providers gear up for telehealth, they’ll face new issues such as 24×7 remote monitoring and the need to support virtual doctor visits by telepresence over the Internet. I wrote before here and here, there must be compatibility among different video systems, including the enterprise class-systems in hospitals and consumer-class systems in PC & mobile devices.

Until today, the two prominent solutions I knew about  were Vidyo and a Lifesize Communications technology called ClearSea. Both are cloud-based services that translate between incompatible video systems, but now there’s another option.

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